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That Pride of Race and CharacterThe Roots of Jewish Benevolence in the Jim Crow South$
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Caroline E. Light

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479854530

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479854530.001.0001

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date: 14 December 2017

Sex, Race, and Consumption

Sex, Race, and Consumption

Southern Sephardim and the Politics of Benevolence

(p.183) 6 Sex, Race, and Consumption
That Pride of Race and Character

Caroline E. Light

NYU Press

This chapter traces the story of a Sephardic family who migrated to Atlanta from Turkey and whose inability to subsist on the father's income drove them to request aid from Atlanta's Montefiore Relief Association (MRA). As in many cases, the financial support was intended to be temporary, yet the family's economic difficulties continued for almost a decade, during which time MRA social workers maintained a detailed file of their interactions with the family. While the case file provides only the Ashkenazic social workers' perspective, it offers useful insight into the means by which immigrant clients adapted the benevolent institution's interventions in ways they considered valuable, sometimes in direct defiance of their social workers' instructions. Such exchanges reveal the multifaceted gender and racial politics that informed Ashkenazic social workers' analyses of their Sephardic clients, and highlights the processes through which immigrant southern Jews worked to optimize their civic entitlements during a time of significant economic and political strain.

Keywords:   Sephardic family, Jewish family, immigrants, Montefiore Relief Association, benevolent institutions, social workers, southern Jews, Ashkenazim, gender, racial politics

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